As you begin your annual spring cleaning ritual, consider going beyond weeding the yard and moving furniture in search of dust-mite filled corners; this year, clean up your financial and tax affairs.
Here are four tips to spring-clean your financial and tax affairs:
1. Create a Current Year Tax File. Whenever you receive a document that you know you’ll need next year when you do your taxes, shove it in your brand new current year tax file.
Examples include charitable donation receipts, car registration bills, real estate tax invoices, and the like.
Don’t forget to use TurboTax ItsDeductible to help you easily track and value your donated items.
As time passes, remembering what you contributed and what it was worth becomes much more difficult.
2. Set up a Tracking System. Many people choose a personal financial software program, such as Quicken, to help monitor their spending and saving.
A great side benefit of such an application is its ability to help you quickly retrieve valuable information when you go to file your tax return next year.
Using personal finance software may be an investment of time when you set it up, but it has the ability to save you a tremendous amount of time later on. Furthermore, what you learn about your personal finance habits has the potential to turn your money life around. Taken together, that’s not a bad combination.
3. Make sure your account information is accurate. Do you receive all of your statements and electronic communications? Double-check to ensure that both your email address and your mailing address are on file correctly.
Did you have unexpected withholding on the interest you earned from a bank or dividends paid from a mutual fund? Make sure each has your social security number on file.
4. Put your tax return file where you can easily find it next year. If you use TurboTax, make sure you save your electronic file in a place where you can easily find it. Doing so will make your tax preparation that much easier next year.
A simple suggestion: put a note in the Current Year Tax File you set up as part of Tip # 1 indicating where the digital file is.
The more time you spend organizing this spring, the more time—and possibly the more money— you’ll save next year.